Our feet play a vital role in our stability and everyday movement. However, the health of our feet is often the last thing on our minds. When we experience foot pain or struggle with limited mobility, only then do we pay close attention.
If you want to start taking better care of your feet, consider visiting a foot and ankle doctor, otherwise known as a podiatrist. They can perform a comprehensive assessment of your feet. Furthermore, they can spot early signs of a serious problem and stage the necessary interventions.
If you’re visiting a podiatrist for the first time, here’s an introduction to what they may look at during your appointment.
Your podiatrist will start your appointment by asking about your symptoms and reviewing your medical history. They will also perform a physical exam to take a close look at your feet. By looking at their physical appearance, they may spot toe deformities, such as:
- Claw toe
- Corns and calluses
Depending on their diagnosis, your podiatrist may recommend self-care methods, like changing your footwear.
Some foot-related problems may not be visible on the surface. After all, each foot has 28 bones, 33 joints, and over 100 muscles, tendons, and ligaments. If you experience foot pain or ankle instability, your foot doctor may order diagnostic imaging tests, like X-rays or MRI scans.
These tests allow your doctor to get a more accurate picture of the inner structures in your feet. Your foot doctor will then use the results to craft a treatment plan, which may include any of the following:
If needed, your podiatrist may recommend assistive devices like braces and crutches to immobilize the foot and speed up healing.
Another option that your foot doctor may recommend is orthotics or shoe inserts. These devices distribute the weight evenly on the feet and correct misalignments. While you can buy them in stores, it’s better to opt for custom orthotics. They provide more targeted support since they are based on the shape of your feet.
Most cases of foot disorders respond to non-surgical treatments and self-care methods. However, severe injuries may warrant foot surgery, especially if the patient no longer responds to conservative methods. The type of procedure would depend on the severity of the condition and your overall health.
Diabetic Foot Care
If you have diabetes, your podiatrist may perform a more thorough foot assessment. People with this condition are more vulnerable to foot-related problems because of poor blood circulation. Many people develop peripheral neuropathy, which affects the way they experience pain.
If a diabetic individual gets their feet injured, they may not notice it until it’s too late. The wound healing process is also affected, increasing the risk of infection that spreads to the leg. A simple wound that is left unchecked may result in limb loss.
Diabetic individuals should pay close attention to their feet and make time to visit their podiatrist. During the appointment, your doctor will perform a physical inspection. They will check your feet for any cuts, scratches, redness, swelling, or irregularities.
Some diabetic foot exams come with a neurological assessment. These tests are designed to identify loss of sensation in the foot. Your doctor may use an instrument, like a 10-g monofilament, to check the feeling in your feet.
Your foot doctor will also teach you proper wound care and prevention. Since minor foot issues can easily get out of hand for diabetic individuals, preventive care is crucial. If you sustain a foot injury, get medical help right away. Time is of the essence in diabetic wound care.
Expert Podiatrist in St. Peters, O’Fallon, and Wentzville, MO
For comprehensive foot care, look no further than Advanced Bone & Joint. Our highly skilled team provides high-quality podiatric and orthopedic care. We provide on-site orthotics and diabetic foot care as part of our foot and ankle services.
Should you require foot surgery, you can rest easy at the hands of our board-certified foot and ankle surgeon, Dr. Anthony Lombardo. He can treat a wide range of foot and ankle conditions for patients of all ages.
Let us help you keep your feet strong and healthy! To schedule an appointment with Dr. Lombardo, call us today at (636) 229-4222. Alternatively, you can fill out our online appointment request form. We look forward to serving you in any of our two convenient locations in St. Peters and O’Fallon!